Emotional Damages After a Car Accident

Posted on August 17, 2022

Not all car accident injuries are physical injuries.  Some of the most significant and long-lasting distress suffered by car accident victims is to their mental and emotional health.  

In a Utah personal injury claim, monetary compensation for mental and emotional distress may be recovered as part of a victim’s non-economic damages.  Non-economic damages are personal losses without an attached dollar value.  

In a typical non-economic damages claim, mental and emotional distress falls under the broader category of pain and suffering. Pain and suffering injuries can be as challenging to treat and harder to prove than their physical counterparts.

PTSD After a Car Accident

Studies show that approximately 30% of car accident victims have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD is a serious and debilitating condition that can develop following a traumatic event.  

Symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks or reminders of the accident that come without warning;
  • Nightmares about the accident;
  • Increased agitation or irritability;
  • Misplaced guilt regarding fault for the accident; and
  • Depression.

Without treatment, people with PTSD may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.  

Managing PTSD After a Car Accident

Managing PTSD after a car accident can be difficult.  Victims are encouraged to seek treatment and maintain relationships with their families and friends.  

The following is also recommended to help those who have PTSD:

  • Keeping a predictable daily routine;
  • Designating a safe space to retreat to in the event of an anxiety attack;
  • Going out in the company of a friend or loved one rather than alone; 
  • Having a safe word to use with family and friends in case of an anxiety attack;
  • Exercising regularly;
  • Avoiding caffeine;
  • Journaling; and
  • Meditating.

The most crucial management tip for those dealing with PTSD is to ask for help.  Withdrawing from life and relationships will only exacerbate the problem.   

Recovering Compensation for Emotional Damages After a Car Accident

As with physical injuries, victims must prove emotional suffering impacted their daily lives to recover monetary compensation.  This means providing their attorney with any medical, employment, or personal documentation necessary.  

Helpful documentation to support emotional damages may include but is not limited to:

  • Medical records that prove physical injuries;
  • Psychological or psychiatric reports to support a PTSD claim;
  • Expert testimony from counselors regarding the emotional and mental impact of car accidents on victims; 
  • Attestations of family and friends of changes in the victim’s behavior; and
  • A daily journal of symptoms and struggles with performing routine tasks.

These are valuable evidence to an attorney when negotiating an insurance settlement or a jury when determining a compensation amount.

Contact an Experienced Utah Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or your loved one suffered emotional damages following a severe car accident, contact the experienced Utah personal injury attorneys at Handy & Handy.  One of our legal professionals will evaluate your case at no cost and answer your accident claim questions.  

Do not wait to contact Handy & Handy. Utah limits the time in which accident victims may recover from their injuries, so start your car accident claim today.